Now, more than ever, is a tense time for teachers. They are tip toeing through a seemingly dark tunnel of the unknown and trying to prepare themselves for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. They are adjusting, experimenting and learning along the way all the necessary Common Core steps they will need to include in their classroom teaching.
So where do they go from here? How will they be evaluated and how are they expected to perform? The whole point of the Common Core is to allow for and foster success for every student. Surely the way they carry out the Common Core Standards will impact the possibility for success. What climate will they be working under, especially as they start to implement the Common Core?
Let’s stop here for a moment on the topic of evaluation. There are a number of ways to approach this thought.
Obviously there is a learning curve. The Common Core Standards are new for a school, which means they are new for teachers by default. Should they be able to master the skills and tools necessary to “ace” the Common Core Standards right away, or is there a built-in grace period for trial and error? It’s hard to imagine a new concept or system being as familiar as the back of your hand right off the bat. So how long should it take for teachers to get acquainted and familiar with their new Common Core task? Is there even a time limit? The Common Core will continue to evolve and improve over time. Should teachers focus on methods and success rather than perfection? And ultimately, will their mastery of the Common Core Standards quickly versus over time affect student success?
These are hard questions to answer because everything comes into play. How a teacher grasps the new Common Core Standards and integrates them into his or her lessons will affect each student in their class.
But look at it from another angle.
How would you evaluate a student who is wrestling with a new task? Would you allow room for error, and time to adjust to the new area? Chances are you would. Students need time to wrap their heads around new content and understand the concepts that are being taught. Teachers in this case are no different.
When it comes to implementation of the Common Core, teachers will be the new students, at least for the time being. They will need time to grasp what lies ahead and fully understand and adapt to the new way of teaching. The best possible climate for teachers to get comfortable with the Common Core is to give them time. Just as you would allow for students to take time to understand a new area, now teachers need the same.
With time, support, and the right resources, teachers will be able to understand and adapt to the Common Core. It will become less about how they are evaluated and will feel more like second nature.